getting_to_change
Female worker reading blueprints.

Planning ahead for longevity

By thinking ahead, you can build-in safeguards for things that could endanger your change project or initiative. Let’s look at how Canada’s first Parliamentary Librarian, Alpheus Todd, did just that and saved Canada’s Parliamentary Library from burning to the ground in the fire of 1916. The library opened in 1876. The building reflects the vision…
We’re prone to optimism bias in projects, especially when we have a vested interest in their sucess.

Mega projects don’t need mega optimism

Is your organization’s success undermined by optimism bias? We’re particularly prone to being overly optimistic about project outcomes when we have a vested interest in them and play a big role in their planning. Take the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam project in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It was originally expected to cost $6.2 billion to…
What does perception of time have to do with change?

The importance of perception

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to swat a fly with a newspaper? Flies seem to react at lightning speed. How do they manage to get away so quickly, time after time? It turns out flies and other small, agile creatures perceive time as moving slowly. While we see the newspaper whizzing through…
We can cultivate an environment that brings about the changes we need.

Sowing seeds of beneficial change

We can cultivate an environment that brings about the changes we need and require. A great example is clover. For 1000 years, clover was the main plant used by farmers in Europe and the Middle East to extract nitrogen from the air and add it to the soil. All types of clover are legumes that…
Sometimes the unknown is completely new. Other times, it has happened before and we’ve forgotten how to deal with it.

Everything old is new again

One of the strangest things about the history of scurvy is that people kept finding the cure and then forgetting it. When Jacques Cartier made his second voyage to North America in May 1535, his crew had developed scurvy by the time the ship reached what is now Quebec City. Cartier’s crew was cured of…
Technological innovation isn’t just happening fast, it’s creating modes of transport that have no precedent.

Slow government and fast technology: trouble ahead?

Technology moves at dizzying speeds and democratic governments are scrambling to keep up. Citizens want their programs and services delivered using the latest technologies. Industries are demanding that governments change the laws to support constant innovation. Look at the transportation industry. People want governments to develop improved transportation infrastructure and allow new forms of safe…
Change is always the boss.

Weathering dynamic change

Change is always the boss. Take climate change for example. Despite vigorous debate about the existence of climate change, its effects are impacting people worldwide with increasing frequency and intensity. The changing weather patterns are definitely the boss. Some people call climate change unpredictable and dangerous, fearing that the world can’t change fast enough to…
So often, we assume we know how the future will be based on big ideas. How can organizations see past the myths and develop better knowledge to prepare for the future?

Seeing past the ‘big’ ideas

So often, we assume we know how the future will unfold based on someone’s big idea. In May 1968, scientist Paul Ehrlich published a book entitled The Population Bomb. In it, he argued that the earth’s increasing population would lead to mass starvation and destroy its ecology. Ehrlich’s book became one of the most influential…
Change is relentless. That means innovations are always emerging. We need to keep scanning the horizon, looking for new ways of doing things.

Change: thinking it through

Change is relentless. Innovations always emerge. We need to keep scanning the horizon for new ways of doing things. For example, there are great new approaches for protecting personal information. Collecting it might be good for business, but data breaches erode public trust. How can we get the best results from continuous change and innovation? Some organizations…
Natural disasters teach us an important lesson about change: It’s always up ahead.

Don’t let change be the boss

What can we learn from the past to help us prepare for coming changes? Japan is known as one of the best-prepared countries in the world when it comes to disaster response. However, in 2011 an earthquake followed by a tsunami struck northeastern Japan that challenged its ability to cope. Over 18,000 people are listed as dead or missing as a…